Wayne Rooney believes Phil Foden and Jack Grealish are too good to be left out of the England starting XI for Euro 2020.

Manchester City youngster Foden starred with a goal and an assist in the 4-1 away win at Premier League champions Liverpool last week.

He is gaining momentum after being handed more opportunities by manager Pep Guardiola.

Grealish, meanwhile, has thrived for Aston Villa this season, establishing himself as one of the Premier League's leading players with six top-flight goals and 10 assists.

Rooney is England's record goalscorer and thinks the form of the two attacking midfielders has become impossible to ignore ahead of the tournament.

"They have to be in the squad and arguably have to play because they are that good," the Derby County boss said about Foden and Grealish.

"Phil Foden has been one of the best players in the league this season, I think Guardiola has managed him really well.

"For Phil, it's about keeping doing what he's doing. He's one of the best players in the league this season.

"Foden is performing excellently — scoring, assisting — and hopefully he can carry that form on with England. He is entertaining to watch. 

"When my lad [Kai] used to go into City, I used to see Phil there.

"I spoke to him a couple of times and I could see he's a very level-headed lad. He was there a lot of the time, but it was just general chat, not me giving him advice.

"There are a few players — not just him. I think Jack Grealish brings something different for the national team."

Foden made his England debut away to Iceland in September but was promptly removed from the squad along with Mason Greenwood for breaking coronavirus protocols.

He responded by scoring a double - his first international goals - in the home match against Iceland in November.

Grealish, meanwhile, has five England caps and manager Gareth Southgate has spoken about the dilemma he faces over whether to play him or Chelsea's Mason Mount.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka could be key to Manchester United's chances in the New Year's Day clash with Aston Villa, as he will likely be at least partly responsible for keeping Jack Grealish shackled.

Grealish has been a standout player in the Premier League this season, with their exceptional start to the 2020-21 campaign in no small part down to the attacking midfielder's influence.

Only five teams have scored more than Villa's 28 goals this term, though four have played two more matches than them. The other, United, have played one game extra.

Grealish has scored five and set up six, excelling in his free-roaming role from the left as he has also created 51 chances in the Premier League – Hakan Calhanoglu (53) of Milan is the only player to have played more key passes across Europe's top five leagues.

Of those 51 chances created, 23 have come following a carry, defined by Opta as a movement of the ball that is greater than five metres from where it was received. No other player in the Premier League has produced more than 13 key passes from comparable situations.

 

Grealish impressed against United at Old Trafford last term, scoring a gorgeous goal in a 2-2 draw, and Wan-Bissaka is primed for a potentially decisive tussle with the England international, as the right-back delved into the data with United Review.

"I know he is always up there with getting the most fouls," Wan-Bissaka said of Grealish, whose 65 free-kicks won is comfortably the most in the Premier League. "We all know he’s a tricky player when he's out there on the pitch.

"He is a great player. He's unpredictable and can go inside or outside with the ball. I played against him last season and just have to be ready to take it as it comes.

"It is another challenge I am more than ready to take on, but he's not the only player we need to be paying attention to – they have lots of other good players like John McGinn, Ross Barkley, Trezeguet and others. We know it will be a tough game."

While Wan-Bissaka expects a testing encounter, Grealish surely will not be predicting an easy ride either – Opta revealed on Thursday that the United right-back made the most tackles (96) in the Premier League for a third successive calendar year in 2020.

On top of that, Wan-Bissaka's 50 blocks is a league-high for 2020-21, highlighting the full-back's defensive nous.

"I reckon it's probably down to there being situations where I've needed to tackle but, in that moment, there have been more situations I have had when I have had to block shots and crosses," he continued.

"I know there have been times in football where, if you don't block a shot, it can go in. So, the best thing to do is simply to attempt to block every shot and every cross.

"I know you cannot just dive into any tackle. You've got to make sure you time it right. It is a case of always concentrating and making sure you are timing them right as well.

"It's very good to hear, that I have had no bookings against me this season."

Despite his obvious defensive strengths, there remain plenty of United fans unconvinced by Wan-Bissaka's suitability as the club's first choice at right-back due to his limited attacking output.

He had seemingly improved as an attacking outlet in his first season at United from his days at Crystal Palace, with chance creation up to 0.7 per 90 minutes from 0.4 and open play crosses increasing to three per game from 1.6.

But he is yet to record an assist this season and his 0.3 expected assists (xA) figure further highlights how little impact he has in the final third.

 

Manchester City are reportedly planning a bid for Harry Kane, while United are still interested in Jack Grealish.

City have been linked with numerous forwards amid uncertainty over Sergio Aguero's future.

And it seems the Tottenham star is among their targets.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY PLANNING £88.7M BID FOR KANE

Manchester City are planning an £88.7million offer for Tottenham star Kane ahead of next season, according to Bild.

Kane, 27, is contracted at Spurs, where he continues to star, until 2024.

The England international has scored nine goals in 15 Premier League games this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United remain interested in signing Aston Villa star Grealish, according to the Daily Mail. The midfielder was heavily linked with a move to United in the close season, but ended up staying at Villa, who are in action at Old Trafford on Friday.

- Eric Garcia has seemingly made a decision on his future. The Guardian reports the Manchester City defender has agreed personal terms on a five-year deal with Barcelona. Garcia is contracted at City until the end of the season.

- With Mauricio Pochettino reportedly set to take over at Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham apparently have worries over Hugo Lloris. The Sun reports Spurs fear the goalkeeper could join former boss Pochettino in Paris and they are eyeing West Brom's Sam Johnstone and Manchester United's Dean Henderson as potential targets.

- Yet to play for Arsenal this season, Mesut Ozil's future remains a talking point. Bild reports the playmaker wants to see out his contract, which runs until season's end, with the Premier League outfit.

- Also coming out of contract, Sami Khedira looks set for a Juventus exit. The Daily Mail reports the midfielder is set to hold talks with Everton over a potential move.

- Struggling for game time at Manchester United, Jesse Lingard has had the one-year option on his contract at the club triggered, according to Sky Sports. Lingard's deal now runs until 2022.

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